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T.J. SIMERS

Watching the Bruins requires a strong stomach and bladder

Trying to get through one of their games is a chore, then they go and score just when nature calls.

November 01, 2009|T.J. SIMERS

FROM CORVALLIS, ORE. — When it comes to attending different sports events, it couldn't have been a safer situation to go to the bathroom without fear of missing anything.

After all, UCLA's offense was on the field.

You drink as much coffee as it takes to stay awake these days while the Bruins are trying to find the end zone, and you just have to go.

So here it is, fourth quarter, a lollygagging Oregon State just mailing it in with a 19-3 lead, UCLA not throwing a touchdown pass in more than 295 minutes -- and an entire season is only 720 minutes.

And I missed it -- the Bruins' first touchdown pass in 297 minutes 39 seconds, a xx-yard toss to Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx, and darned if I know who caught it or how long it was.

UCLA's quarterback also threw three yards to Xxxxxxx for the two-point conversion, a great play, I would imagine.

I'm guessing Kevin Prince threw both passes, knowing how much Coach Rick Neuheisel hates playing Kevin Craft, and this whole business of getting Richard Brehaut playing time is just Neuheisel's way of making sure offensive coordinator Norm Chow doesn't think he's running the show.

The Times, of course, sent two of us here -- knowing I would have to go and probably go again and UCLA beat reporter Chris Foster never misses a thing, so we're covered and he undoubtedly knows who scored the touchdown and the two-point conversion.

To be honest, though, we were both in the elevator on our way down to the field when UCLA scored again, and what are the chances in any of our lifetimes of the Bruins throwing for two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions in the same quarter?

OK, so I never saw UCLA score Saturday, which is like most Saturdays this last month, but Foster and I were here, could hear the Beavers crowd groan in shock when the Bruins apparently tied it up, and we were both ready to witness a miracle had Prince thrown another.

But he didn't, and so the Bruins still stink and remain a disgrace, a big-time school with a small-time football program.

They are winless in the Pacific 10 Conference like Washington State, losers of five straight games and if you're starting to count moral victories, then why did they ever get rid of Karl Dorrell?

How many times did we talk about turning points in Dorrell's time at UCLA, Neuheisel getting just such a moment here. I recall even zipping up my jacket so none of the Bruins would notice the USC sweatshirt I was wearing and maybe distract them.

It was Halloween, and I had come dressed as a Trojans fan, only costume I could think of to remind the Bruins they still have to play the Trojans. Frightening, I know.

I was also a little embarrassed to be here, while certainly not trying to take anything away from the Bruins' mad dash to earn a Poinsettia Bowl bid, but about 45 miles down the road they really were playing a big game between USC and Oregon.

Let's face it, when it comes to our backyard and football -- USC and UCLA -- it's like pro basketball, the Lakers and Clippers.

USC is 88-11 the last eight years, UCLA 49-45, and while I know almost nothing about twittering, I was directed to Neuheisel's site before this losing exercise against the Beavers.

Neuheisel has 194 twitter.com/CoachNeuheisel followers, his entry Friday reading, "just arrived in Oregon. Overcast and a strong breeze up here. The team is calm and focused."

Heavens, our very own Foster has 238 followers -- die-hards willing to hang with him even when he's lost in an elevator.

Pete Carroll also has a tweeter, twit or whatever account and 157,938 followers, his entry Friday reading: "saw the michael jackson movie last night 'this is it' . . . It's unbelievable how good it is!!!"

I want to play for that guy -- just hoping now a weak bladder doesn't do me in.

I'm not surprised, of course, that Neuheisel's effort at reaching the younger generation would fall so flat. Several times in the first half Neuheisel began waving at his players to show more life on the sideline, urging them to move toward the end of the field where the action was being played out.

Neuheisel's arm waving wasn't enough, though, to get Nos. 9, 11, 48, 43, 2 and 52 off the heated benches.

He's no Carroll, that's for sure, babying his quarterback and going conservative with everything to gain at this point of the season, and what's one more loss?

Neuheisel not only has Prince watching for Brehaut to start warming up, but when Prince led the Bruins to the Oregon State 10-yard line to start the second half, Neuheisel quit on Prince.

The Bruins ran three consecutive running plays, advanced as far as the six, burned a timeout and then kicked a 24-yard field goal.

When quizzed, Neuheisel said something about the coaches studying film, implying they know a whole lot more about calling plays than the media. So how come they've lost five games in a row, and I remain undefeated?

I would have blamed Chow, because he was calling the plays and like Neuheisel he was babying his quarterback -- although this supposedly is his guy.

Neuheisel quibbled with the suggestion he was "babying" Prince, and in what is becoming a pattern, he likes to quibble to avoid direct attacks at UCLA's many failings.

It's obvious Neuheisel does not have faith in Prince, nudging Chow earlier this week to work in Brehaut, who appeared overmatched in his first-half cameo appearance.

In his postgame quibbling remarks, Neuheisel said he will still push for playing time for Brehaut, a very odd thing to say after Prince has given the Bruins everything they've been missing with his fourth-quarter scoring spree.

Or so Foster tells me.

--

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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